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Come, let us reason together, saith the Lord.
The word Reason, in the English language, bas different sigpifications; sometimes it is taken for true and clear principles ; someo times for clear and fair deductions from those principles; and sometimes for the cause, and particularly the final cause. But the consideration I shall have of it here, is in a signification different from all these: and that is, as it stands for a faculty in man; that faculty whereby man is supposed to be distinguished from beasts, and wherein it is evident be much surpasses them. .
Why am I led thus captive by my will,
Mrs. Rowi. Deprived of reason, we should differ in nothing, but in shape, from the brutes! and unless that reason is in the mind, what a poor and defective animal is man! He must feel wants which he knows not how to supply; he must be deprived of advantages, for which he can receive no possible compensation. Were be to enjoy all the animal and all the social pleasures, he would still find a vacuity. It is essential, therefore, for his happiness, that the mind should be cultivated, by means of a proper education; and that every individual, according to the situation in which he is likely to be placed, should be enabled to partake of those mental pleasures, to which the buman species is entitled.
Bnt, above all, man was endowed with reason and thought, in order to contemplate the works of God, and to prepare himself for eternity. What are other objects in life compared with this ?
Sir John Sinclair. In reason we may consider these four degrees: The first and bigbest is the discovering and finding out of truths; the second, the regular and methodical disposition of them, and laying them in a clear and fit order, to make their connexion and force to be plainly and easily perceived ; the third is the perceiving their connexion ; and the fourth, the making a right conelusion. These several degrees may easily be observed in any mathematical demonstration ; it being one thing to perceive the connexion of each part, as the demonstration is made by another; another, to perceive the dependanee of the conclusion on all the parts; a third, to make out a demonstration clearly and neatly one's self; and something different from all these, to bave first found out these intermediate ideas, or proofs by wbich it is made.
Locke. Reason, the divine guide and governor of human life, under whose subjection alone, men are properly said to live in freedom.
Plutarch. Right reason is the perfection of human nature.
Seneca The law of reason is founded in nature; it is universal, immutable, and eternal. It is subject to no change, from any difference of place or time. It extends invariably to all ages and nations, like the sovereign dominion of that Being, who is the author of it.
Cicero, Reason is the pilot of human life, and steers it steadily through wild and tempestuous seas, amidst the rocks and shelves of lust and fancy, fortune and folly, ignorance and error, and a thousand cheats and impostures. It is this alone that enables man to despise imaginary evils, and vanquish real ones. It arms the mind with true and lasting magnanimity, furnishes it with solid comforts, and teaches it to extract life and health, virtue and wisdom, out of the madness and mutability of men and fortune; like antidotes and cordials, out of things poisonous and baneful in their nature.
Reasoning is a chain of judgments founded upon each other. It is the arithmetic of words,
It is the immediate province of the reasoning faculty to discover abstract truths in the mind, investigate their connexions, and determine how far their tendency is productive of good. It is by reasoning that we are enabled to judge of causes from their effects, and to discern in what connexions these effects may become causes themselves. By virtue of this power, we are qualified to argue, that in cases perfectly similar, the issue will be the same ; and to infer, from the known properties of bodies, what will be the result of the application of these properties to particular cases. It is by reason, founded on observation and experience, that we acquire a conviction, that certain dispositions or actions will prove beneficial or injurious; that certain stations will be advantageous, or the reverse. It is by reason that we determine concerning the truth of historic events, and form our opinion of the characters and motives of distinguished agents, &c.
Dr. Cogan. Reason is the principle, by which our belief and opinions ought to be regulated. It is the office of reason to determine what are the
proper to any end which we desire.
Reid, Reason, unless exercised in its proper offices, like a candle enclosed in a dark lanthorn, burns in waste, and spends itself in useless and unprofitable blaze,
He that follows its advice, has a mind that is elevated above the reach of injury; that sits above the clouds, in a calm and quiet ether, and with a brave indifferency hears the rolling thunders grumble and burst under his feet.
Scott. Although reason was intended by Providence to govern our passions, it seems that in two points of the greatest moment to our being and continuance, God hath intended our passions to prevail
over reason. The first is the propagation of our species ; since no man ever married from the dictates of reason. The other is the love of life, which, from the dictates of reason, every man despises and wishes at an end, or that it never had a beginning. Swift.
According to human understanding, reason, like fire, was at the beginning but a spark, till, through a confluence of all events happenable to man, it received augmentation, as the other did, from the supplement of matter; and, baving once caught paper, did illuminate the world.
Osborn, 1659. Human reason, when improved by knowledge and undisturbed by passion, though not an infallible, is yet our best guide; but, unimproved by knowledge, and adulterated by passion, it becomes the most dangerous one, constituting obstinate wrongheadedness, and dignifying (nay, almost sanctifying) error.
Chesterfield. What we call human reason, is not the effort or ability of one, so much as it is the result of the reason of many, arising from lights mutually communicated, in consequence of discourse and writing.
Blair. It seems to be as much designed by the Author of Nature, that rational animals should use their reason, and steer by it, as it is by the shipwright, that the pilot should direct the vessel by the use of the rudder he has fitted to it. The rudder would not be there, if it were not to be used; nor would reason be implanted in us, were it not to be cultivated; and it is certain, it cannot be used, but it must command. Such is its nature; and nothing can be taken for true, by a rational being, if he have a reason to the contrary.
It is not in his power to resolve not to be governed by reason ; for, if he would do this, he must either have some reason for making this resolution, or none; if he has none, it is a resolution that stands on no foundation, and therefore of course falls; and if le bas sone reason for it, he is governed by reason. This demonstrates that reason must govern.
Is reason to the soul; for as on high,
DRYDEN, Reason requires culture to expand it. It resembles the fire con cealed in the flipt, wbich only shows itself when struck with the steel,
Gerdil How, then, shall we set it right? To say that we shall not use our reason, is talking of an impossibility. Reason is not a matter of option; a man can do more cease to reason than to think. His business, then, in the affairs of the world, is to seek the cornsel of the wise and experienced; and in points of religion, the lights of revelation ; to fix bis eyes on futurity, pin his faith on the truths af Christianity, follow its precepts, and trust to God for the result. By being a good Christian, he will have a safe conscience, and become a good moral reasoner.
Trusler, A man without reason is like a ship without a pilot-in danger of foundering in tempestuous weather.
SPENSER Reason, that power by which tbe mind turns its view inward, and observes its own actions and operations.
Locke, I believe, as to Christianity itself, that every thing in it is to be submitted to the dictates of buman reason, and what cannot be explained and made out by this, is po part of the Christian religion ; and, consequently, that there are no doctrines appertaining to it, which are mysterious, and superior to our reason,
Watts. By consideration a man makes use of bis reason, which before was laid asleep, and therefore could not do its 'work, When the master's from bome, the scholars will be at play; when the coadirman is asleep, the horses may miss their way, and possibly break his neck and their own; if the ploughman goes away, the oxen